Here at Chez Jaggers, we watch the mailbox like hawks these days. The first of what we hope will be several college acceptance letters has crossed our doorstep and we (well, mostly the 17-year-old) are eagerly awaiting the envelope that will share our collective fate for this fall.
The college admissions process is fascinating. College websites get more hits by far by prospective students and parents than any other audience. The demand for admissions information must have been daunting before the dawn of the Internet; it continues now but is far more easily managed by colleges that have embraced social media tools to share information with and attract students and parents.
Here in Charlottesville, the presence of the University of Virginia is a force of its own with an easy 20 percent of our population comprised of college students. UVa ranks third in Kiplinger’s list of 100 best values for public colleges; high in demand, UVa’s admissions is rigorous to say the least. UVa’s Notes from Peabody II is a popular admissions blog, providing a frequently updated report, complete with photos, from the office of admissions. My favorite feature is the running list in the sidebar of artists/authors mentioned in application essays. Good stuff!
The University of Southern California, Los Angeles has a brilliant use of RSS feeds and podcasts catalogued on a single page. They also have an admissions blog.
The University of Illinois, alma mater of several of my high school chums, has an admissions blog penned by a fresh-faced “coordinator of scholar recruitment.”
While they do not have a blog, the University of Indiana hosts online chats with admissions counselors and current students; another great way to make their site interactive and friendlier to prospective students and their parents.
These are just a few examples of how some of the top colleges in the U.S. are using social media to engage prospective students. What’s your school doing?